Spatially confined liquid crystals exhibit non-uniform alignment, often accompanied by self-organised topological defects of non-trivial shape in response to imposed boundary conditions and geometry. Here we show that a nematic liquid crystal, when confined in a sinusoidal microwrinkle groove, exhibits a new periodic arrangement of twist deformations and a zigzag line defect. This periodic ordering results from the inherent liquid crystal elastic anisotropy and the antagonistic boundary conditions at the flat liquid crystal-air and the curved liquid crystal-groove interfaces. The periodic structure can be tuned by controlling the groove geometry and the molecular chirality, which demonstrates the importance of boundary conditions and introduced asymmetry for the engineering of topological defects. Moreover, the kinks in the zigzag defects can trap small particles, which may afford a new method for manipulation of colloids. Our system, which uses easily fabricated microwrinkle grooves, provides a new microfabrication method based on the arrangement of controllable defects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)